Hello and welcome to our live blog bringing you coverage of Newcastle United.

You'll find all the latest updates about the club right here as well as the best analysis and opinion, too.

The Magpies moved six points clear of the relegation zone on Sunday following a 2-1 win against Burnley at Turf Moor. Matej Vydra had given the Clarets the lead but the game was turned on its head by substitute Allan Saint-Maximin; the Frenchman teed up Jacob Murphy's equaliser just two minutes after coming on before scoring a wonderful individual goal, himself.

Following their first win since February, Newcastle are now preparing for the visit of high-flying West Ham to St James' Park on Saturday as the Magpies look to build on that victory in Lancashire.

Stick with us for all the latest news - and why not visit our podcast, The Everything is Black and White Podcast.

Newcastle United takeover: Heat turned up on Premier League chiefs after government revelations

Premier League chiefs have had the heat cranked up on them after revelations of Newcastle United's collapsed takeover emerged last night.

Daily Mail journalist Simon Walters reported PM Boris Johnson intervened towards the end of the top-flight's owners and directors test process when Mohammed Bin Salman asked him to "correct and reconsider" the Prem's decision not to sanction Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund-backed bid to buy the Magpies.

Despite the pandemic, Newcastle's takeover plight made front-page news this morning on the national newspaper.

The crown prince is said to have warned Mr Johnson that failure to do the deal would result in Anglo-Saudi relations turning sour.

The PM then asked senior No10 aide Lord Eddie Lister, a Middle East expert, to look into the matter.

But on July 30, PIF, Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers released a statement revealing they had withdrawn from their bid to buy Newcastle from Mike Ashley.

The Premier League would not sanction the deal as they could not be sure whether PIF or the crown prince would be running the show on Tyneside, despite assurances from Staveley and co it was not a state-led takeover.

And it was that decision that left Mohammed Bin Salman furious.

Lord Lister was quoted to have said last night:

"The Saudis were getting upset.

"We were not lobbying for them to buy it or not to buy it.

"We wanted them [the Premier League] to be straightforward and say yes or no, don't leave them [the Saudis] dangling."

PM Johnson wrote a letter to fans in August stating: "I appreciate many Newcastle fans were hoping this takeover would go ahead and can understand their sense of disappointment.

"There must be clarity on why there was a significant delay."

Read the full story, here.

Good morning

Good morning and welcome to Thursday's live blog. Stick with us for updates throughout the day.

Southampton strategy

Ralph Hassenhuttl has confirmed Southampton will be scouting new transfer markets for targets valued around £10m.

The Saints, like Newcastle United and their Premier League rivals, are still grappling with the financial ramifications of a season deprived of matchday income.

The NUFC Notebook revealed interest in Sunderland's on-loan defender Dion Sanderson reflects the Magpie potential summer remit to scour the Championship and League One prospects.

Southampton have enjoyed success in recent seasons with signings from Europe, with the likes of Sadio Mane and Morgan Schneiderlin going on to earn the club substantial transfer fees.

Southampton manager Ralph Hassenhuttl during the match with Chelsea on February 20, 2021

But in addition to the financial challenges wrought by Covid-19, Premier League clubs must also contend with the new restrictions introduced as a result of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union.

A new points-based system in effect from the January transfer window will make it tougher for top-flight teams to make moves abroad.

Potential signings will be judged on a range of criteria such as international and domestic appearances, final league position, the ranking of the divison and more.

The United's current summer transfer plans remain uncertain with their Premier League status and Mike Ashley's ongoing ownership still at stake.

Southampton currently sit four points ahead of the Magpies in the table, and Hassenhuttl's claims about the Saints summer targets provide an idea of the markets United could look to operate in.

You can read the full story here.

Gibbo's Fraser verdict

Ryan Fraser has also been a disappointing signing for me. He actually looks more than capable of shaking off that cloak of despondency when called up to play for Scotland and pointedly said after his recent goalscoring for them that "when you rate a manager you will run through a brick wall for him".

Ryan Fraser walks off the field following Newcastle United's defeat against Brighton at the Amex on March 20, 2021

Fraser was talking about a former United coach Steve Clarke and not the current one Steve Bruce.

Is it a coincidence that since coming back from international duty bursting with personal success injury has ruled him out of United matches?

You can read the full story here.

Ashton's view

Fulham's poor home form, as well as the return of Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson to Newcastle's XI, means the Magpies will be 'fine' in their bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

That is the view of former West Ham and England forward Dean Ashton who feels United would have gone down had the pair remained injured for the crucial relegation run-in.

Allan Saint-Maximin reacts at the final whistle after Newcastle United's win against Burnley at Turf Moor on April 11, 2021

A run of just two wins in 20 matches for Newcastle prior to the March international break left Steve Bruce's side just two points clear of the relegation zone and they were made favourites with the bookmakers to go down.

However, Fulham have missed three opportunities in each of the last three matchdays to overtake Newcastle and have failed to take their opportunity.

You can read the full story here.

MacAnthony's advice

Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony has revealed he reached out to Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley with some advice in how to engage the Magpies' supporter base.

His claims come amid the Newcastle United Supporters' Trust launched the 1892 pledge as they bid to buy a stake in the Magpies on behalf of the fans.

Last week, the NUST launched The 1892 Pledge - a long-term, fan-led attempt to raise enough money to buy a stake in United when Mike Ashley sells the club to new owners.

Darragh MacAnthony (L) reached out to Mike Ashley (R) with advice (Image: Getty Images)

After almost 14 years of frustration during Ashley's tenure as owner, supporters are being asked to pledge money to give the Trust enough capital to enter into negotiations with any new or prospective new owners to buy a minimum of a 1% stake in the club to ensure supporter representation at the club.

MacAnthony was full of praise for Newcastle fans in response although the Peterborough chairman admitted it is a 'real shame' that the relationship between Ashley and Newcastle fans is beyond repair.

You can read the full story here.

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Mavididi to sign?

This from Football Insider.

***

Newcastle United are closing in on the signing of rising star Shaun Mavididi following his exit from Arsenal, Football Insider has learned.

The teenager was released by the London giants earlier in the year and then headed to Newcastle for a trial.

A United source has told Football Insider than Mavididi has been offered a two-year scholarship deal, which would then be converted into a one-year professional contract.

Fans react

Newcastle United fans are demanding answers from the Premier League regarding the Saudi backed takeover of their club - after Chronicle Live exclusively revealed a decision on the deal was said to be only hours away back in June 2020.

Castore will make Newcastle United's kits next season according to reports (Image: Visionhaus via Getty Images)

A six-month wait to get emails between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Premier League released, revealed that on June 21st 2020, the government department believed a decision was imminent - something the Premier League confirmed later that day.

Both the Premier League and DCMS refused to answer the question when asked by Chronicle Live of what made a decision so imminent only for it not to happen - the fans also wanted answers.

Many reacted demanding answers and some hoped the reveal of the correspondence may help QC Nick De Marco as he leads the arbitration case on behalf of Newcastle United against the Premier League on the Toon takeover.

You can read the full story here.

Murphy's future

Newcastle United are relaxed about Jacob Murphy's contract situation - despite fresh reports of interest from Watford and Rangers.

The winger has enjoyed a positive season on Tyneside after returning from two seasons on loan at Sheffield Wednesday and West Bromwich Albion.

(Image: Newcastle United via Getty Images)

Steve Bruce was asked about Murphy's contract situation by BBC Newcastle on Friday and said: "I sincerely hope that we tie Jacob down.

"He's played a big part in the season... I've been very, very pleased with him."

You can read the full story here.

Murphy a target

Chi Onwurah reacts to club shop news

Chi Onwurah reacts to the club shop news:

Very angry to hear @NUFC is making NUFC store workers redundant in the middle of a pandemic. Whatever deal is being done behind closed doors it should be possible to guarantee their jobs. They're an important part of the NUFC family but a small part of the club's salary bill!

Club shop latest

Plenty of talk overnight about what happens next for the club shop. Here's the latest.

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is understood to have passed on control of the main club shop at St James' Park.

However, it is believed the decision is down to incoming new kit sponsors Castore wanting to take on the running of the store and not an early sign of the club's Middle East takeover situation involving Saudi Arabia's PIF, Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers.

The two-floored shop at Gallowgate has been operated by Sports Direct/Frasers Group in recent years and is currently decked out with Puma imagery throughout.

'Complete performance'

Newcastle United should be looking to achieve the level of performance and dominance shown in last season's 4-1 win over Bournemouth, in the final games of the 2020-21 campaign.

The Magpies came from behind to beat Burnley 2-1 and took a huge step towards safety - showing that with Allan Saint-Maximin in the starting eleven, they do carry a threat.

Allan Saint-Maximin of Newcastle United celebrates with Jacob Murphy and Callum Wilson after scoring their side's second goal during the Premier League match between Burnley and Newcastle United

Chronicle Live's chief sports writer Lee Ryder was down at Turf Moor to take in the game, and believes that Newcastle now need to aim for a 'complete performance.'

"It's just going to be nice when they eventually do get that complete performance," he told The Everything is Black and White Podcast.

You can read the full story here.

Coleman's 'disappointment'

Seamus Coleman has namechecked the home defeat to Newcastle United as a 'disappointment' in Everton's season so far.

Carlo Ancelotti's side remain in the hunt for European football following a goalless draw at Brighton on Monday night.

The Toffees are seven points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham United but have a game in hand, and host Tottenham in their next outing on Friday night.

It has been a quietly impressive season for Everton so far, but Ancelotti's side have been criticised for dropping points to teams battling to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

Seamus Coleman during the Premier League match between Everton and Newcastle United at Goodison Park on January 30, 2021

The Toffees were beaten at Goodison Park by both Fulham and Newcastle in recent months, with a Callum Wilson brace earning the Magpies a vital victory in January.

It has been a troubled campaign on Tyneside to date, but the win meant Steve Bruce's side completed the double over Everton following a 2-1 victory at St James' Park in November.

United remain 17th despite Sunday's crucial victory at Burnley, and Coleman discussed Everton's 'mentality' in the home defeats to the relegation battlers.

You can read the full story here.

Allardyce's survival message

Sam Allardyce admits West Brom have their 'fingers crossed' for slip-ups from their relegation rivals.

The Baggies closed the gap to 17th-placed Newcastle United to eight points once again with an emphatic home victory over Southampton on Monday night.

Goals from Matheus Pereira, Matt Phillips and Callum Robinson ensured it was back-to-back victories for Allardyce's side following a remarkable win at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge.

West Brom boss Sam Allardyce (Image: West Brom boss Sam Allardyce)

It is a run which means West Brom could now emerge as the Magpies' main relegation rival. The Baggies have a game in hand on Fulham, and victory would lift them above Scott Parker's side.

Allardyce praised his side for their latest victory at the Hawthorns, and revealed United's victory at Turf Moor the day before had increased the pressure on his team.

You can read the full story here.

Mike Ashley's focus...

This from Lee Ryder on Mike Ashley and the Saudi takeover - you can read the full story here.

Ashley's own intentions have been made crystal clear via a statement in which he said: "NUFC (is) fighting tooth and nail, the fans and the region are being denied what they deserve."

The Magpies also released a statement this year which read: "The Club is committed to the speedy and fair determination of its claim so that the proposed takeover can go ahead as soon as possible."

It can't happen quick enough for Newcastle fans, but just like the entire Ashley era, the sale has been full of complexities and uncertainties.

Critcism of Kris Ajer

Newcastle have been linked with Celtic's Kris Ajer but former Celtic striker Frank McAvennie has been left far from impressed by the defender.

Speaking to The Herald, he said: "Ajer might go to a league where there is not much heading the ball.

“Unfortunately it’s part of football and I’ve never seen a centre-half that doesn’t want to head the ball. I can’t work it out. He’s 6ft 5ins and doesn’t want to head it.”

Kristoffer Ajer looks on during the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Celtic and Hamilton Academical at Celtic Park Stadium on August 02, 2020

Reports - Juventus defender turned down NUFC

Radu Drăgușin rejected the offer of a move to Newcastle United according to the Juventus defender's agent.

Drăgușin's recently signed a new deal with the Serie A giants, tying in him down until 2025.

His future had been the source of constant speculation given that his deal was up this summer with the Magpies linked with a move to the defender on several occasions.

Upon signing a new deal with Juventus, Dragusin's agent - Florin Manea - claimed that Newcastle were one of several clubs who offered the defender a contract.

Speaking to TuttoJuve, Manea said: "Yes, I can confirm that we have been contacted by several European clubs.

"Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Leipzig, Wolfsburg and even Tottenham were interested in the player, we presented the offers to the boy who, however, had no doubts and wanted to stay at Juventus.

"He grew up here, now they know him and he has adapted, Radu considers the club one of the top five teams in the world.

"We are very happy, we waited a while but it was worth it. Radu will have the opportunity to fight with the best in the world, he has a great desire to stay here and will work hard to become the starter in the future. his will ".

Newcastle have decisions to make on Federico Fernandez and Fabian Schar this summer with both players deals running out at the end of the season.

Reports - Eddie Howe 'talking to Newcastle'

Former Celtic striker Frank McAvennie speaking to Football Insider claimed that Eddie Howe is delaying a decision on the Celtic job to feel out the potential roles at Newcastle and Crystal Palace.

"Eddie Howe is going to be speaking to Newcastle.

"From what I hear, he’s holding back on Celtic and it looks like he’s talking to Newcastle, which is a shame because Steve Bruce has done a good job.

“Howe’s also waiting on Crystal Palace but Roy is still in the job down there, which means they have to wait until the end of the season to start talking.

“I think it’s disrespectful to Celtic, I think we have to move on and leave him.

"It’s the few months he wants to wait that lets me believe that he’s speaking to other people and Celtic can’t afford to wait.”

Eddie Howe during the Premier League match between Wolves and AFC Bournemouth at Molineux on June 24, 2020

Shearer and MUFC...

Alan Shearer is always asked why he chose to join Newcastle United over Manchester United back in 1996.

Shearer has long since insisted the allure of returning to his boyhood club was too strong to turn down and he remains adamant he has no regrets about the decision to move to Tyneside in a world record £15million move.

The former England captain missed out on winning a boat load of trophies at Old Trafford and while silverware eluded him at St James' Park, Shearer wrote his name into folklore by becoming the club's and the Premier League's all-time leading goalscorer.

But was one of the major reasons he turned down a move to Old Trafford because he wouldn't have been the Red Devils' penalty taker?

That was certainly the light-hearted inference he made to fellow BBC pundits Gary Lineker and Micah Richards during the latest Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast.

"When I went for talks with Sir Alex, we were discussing formations, roles and what have you and I said: 'If I do sign, would I be able to get on the penalties?" Shearer said.

He said: 'Eric (Cantona) is on them.'

"I said: 'I know Eric's on them but if I come can I take them?' And he said: 'It's Eric Cantona'.

So in other words, you have got f*****g no chance!"

To which Lineker joked: "So that's why you went to Newcastle!

The takeover - 12 months on

Mike Ashley would like to see somebody else take on the challenge of taking Newcastle United to the next level in time for pre-season 2021.

In fact, the club would have been in the hands of a new supremo months ago had the tycoon got his way this time last year.

For all the false dawns on Tyneside, takeover stories and speculation and Ashley's own inconsistencies with what he wants to do with the much-maligned Magpies, his eyes are still very much on selling the club to Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, Amanda Staveley and the Reuben brothers.

And that has been the case since last April when he told his legal team to prepare the takeover work for the £340million sale to go through from his Miami holiday home at the start of lockdown.

As Ashley braces himself for a court battle with the Premier League he has told those close to him that the PIF deal is the only takeover in Toon as far as he's concerned.

After all, it was almost signed, sealed and delivered before a row broke out over whose name would be above the door..

Full story here.